‘Barbie’ gets parole

Nivashni Nair

CEZANNE Visser, infamously known as Advocate Barbie, will not be allowed to visit children’s homes and will be placed under house arrest.

Visser, a former advocate – convicted of sexually abusing teenage girls she and her former lover Dirk Prinsloo, also an advocate, had befriended at a Pretoria children’s home – will be released on parole today.

James Smalberger, the chief deputy commissioner at the Department of Correctional Services’ incarceration and corrections unit, said yesterday “the nitty gritty” of Visser’s strict parole conditions would be formalised today.

“Because her crime was linked to orphanages, one of the conditions is that she will be restricted from going to those places. Another restriction is that she will not be allowed to make contact with the victims.

“House arrest does not mean she will not be allowed to leave her house at all. If she is working, she will be allowed to go to work, and if she is a religious person, she will be allowed to go to church.”

Smalberger said in the parole process, judgment and sentencing remarks were carefully considered when making a decision.

“We referred back to the judgment in which Judge Chris Eksteen said he was of the view, based on her circumstances and what happened, it would be highly unlikely that she would repeat such a crime.

“We are of the view that the conditions will be appropriate for us to monitor her movements.”

Smalberger said: “Based on what we have – psychological reports, social worker reports, as well as her adaptation and behaviour behind bars for the more than three years and three months – we believe that rehabilitation is at such a level that we can confidently release her.”

The department would not hesitate to place Visser back in custody should she violate her parole conditions, he said.

Visser was sentenced to seven years behind bars in 2010 while Prinsloo is serving a 13-year sentence for an attempted bank robbery in Belarus, after fleeing South Africa while on bail.

Child rights advocacy groups Childline and Operation Bobbi Bear, and independent researcher on gender- based violence Lisa Vetten said yesterday child molesters should be released back into society only if the department had the necessary structures to supervise the parolees.

Childline director Joan van Niekerk said in some cases it would be safer to legally bind sexual offenders to supervision and therapy under parole rather than release them after serving their full sentence without a support base.

Operation Bobbi Bear founder Jackie Branfield called on the parole board to provide the “checks and balances” to the public.

“We want to know the parole conditions for each sexual predator and how they arrived at those conditions,” she said.

Smalberger said it was “very difficult” to monitor parolees “24/7”.

“What we are foreseeing for the future is electronic monitoring where we tag people to trace them to exactly where they are going.

“We are in a pilot phase.

“In future, this will be a handy tool to … monitor parolees,” he said.

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